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Should I allow pets in my rental property?

The UK is full of pet lovers with over 50 million of us owning a furry friend. The most popular pet is in the UK, unsurprisingly, is a dog - 26% of the whole population own one! In total, 45 percent of the UK population own a pet.

Recent studies indicate that tenants looking for a new home are willing to pay nearly £500 a year more if they can bring their pet with them, yet most landlords think you must be barking mad to allow an animal in your rental. Landlords who are open to allowing tenants to keep a pet in their home could be reaping the rewards with not only more tenant enquiries but also more cash in their pockets.

Studies show that the chances of renting with a pet may be increasing with more and more landlords changing their attitudes towards animals, but it does depend on the pet. Over 80% of landlords are willing to accept a fish in their property whereas that number drops by nearly 50% when it comes to hamsters, rabbits and reptiles.

Though many landlords say no to a pet, this doesn’t mean their tenants listen to them with nearly a 5th of tenants are keeping their pets a secret.

A recent analysis shows that tenants in Manchester are significantly more likely to want to rent a pet-friendly property with nearly 7% of pet orientated searches being Manchester based.

There can be both pro’s and cons to allowing a pet in your rental property but ultimately the decision is the landlords to make.

Reasons for pets

  • Allowing pets in your rental property will increase the amount of possible tenant enquires to your advert. Being accessible to any pets gives a landlord a far greater number of potential tenants. More potential tenants, more chance of getting the property let quickly and keeping the cash flow coming in.
  • Any landlord would be open to some extra cash and tenants are more likely to pay more rent if they can keep their pet. Putting the rent up a small amount is completely reasonable, and it can add to some paintwork and repairs that may have to be done at the end of a tenancy due to the animal’s shenanigans. After all, not all pets are purrrfect.
  • A higher deposit is also fair, as there is more chance of a tenant with a pet will breach the tenancy agreement in terms of damage. Any tears/scratches in the wallpaper and paint, a chewed chair leg or the need for a professional clean can all come out of the deposit, so when having a tenant with a pet you should plan for extra damage.
  • Some animals, most commonly dogs, can provide first class security for your rental property. If any sneaky burglars are lurking a dog will be the first to hear and not many bandits will be willing to take on a barking guard dog. In fact, in a study done in 2017 on ex-criminals barking dogs was one of the most likely reasons they would refrain from breaking into a property.
  • Pets and bring landlords and tenants together. Tenants will feel a lot more comfortable with a landlord that has allowed them to have a pet and understands their situation. This can then reflect on any other issues within the property and can help to build up a good trustworthy relationship. Not only will it motivate the tenant to repay the favour and look after the property, it could also prevent any ‘rule’ breaking or hiding anything from the landlord.

Reasons against pets

  • The damages a pet can make to a rental property is one of the main reasons a landlord will refrain from allowing them. Pets a renowned for damaging rental properties and although landlords can make claims on the deposit it is still frustrating and time-consuming. Some reports suggest a pet can cause on average around £690 of damage a year. That figure alone is enough to make any landlord paws for thought.
  • Noise from pets, especially barking dogs, can be very disruptive to neighbours or other tenants in the vicinity. If the noise from pets is late at night this is even worse, causing disruption when people are trying to sleep. This could then lead to complaints to the local council and in a worst-case scenario, this could lead to a fine.
  • Pets are widely known for their smelly odours and if they're so bad they can be left behind even after a tenant has moved out. If a tenant is not cleaning the property regularly not only could it begin to stink but also the amount of hair from the animals, especially when malting, can be very difficult to get out carpets and furniture. An atmosphere full of odour and hair isn’t very attractive for new tenants.
  • Many people have pet allergies and if these are left behind for when new tenants move in this could be very irritating and even dangerous.

Potential Solutions

  • Get an inventory. Every landlord should get an inventory report done before a new tenant moves in but none more so than one allowing a pet into the property. This report will record the condition the property was in before the pet lived there so that any damages caused can be raised and proved at the end of the tenancy. A landlord might think it’s an extra £100 out of their pocket to pay for one but it will save them a lot more than that if anything needed to be replaced.
  • Double the deposit. Having twice the amount of the deposit is completely reasonable as there is more chance of damage from a pet and you are covered for more should anything need to be paid out for.
  • Getting to know the pet before you let it live at your home should be just important as meeting the tenant. Before you accept anyone with a pet you should arrange to meet it whether it be at the initial viewing or after just to get a feel of how the pet will be in your home. If there are any issues you can choose not to go ahead before it’s too late and if you like the pet, it can stay fur-ever.
  • Make your rules and regulations clear. If you are accepting a tenant with pets, make sure you put additional clauses into your tenancy contract addressing the rules you have in place for the pet as well as the tenant.

 To advertise your property to tenants with pets, simply list your property with MakeUrMove now and remember to check the pet-friendly check box.

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